The YouTube giant is the second largest search engine on the planet after Google. Both the YouTube and its viewers experienced a zombie apocalypse from “Reply Girls” during the 2012 Spring when they took over the “Related” and “Recommended” videos on popular Channels.
History of Youtube algorithms
Why we discuss this anyway in 2019. The fact is YouTube changing its algorithms from time to time. And it’s better we learn how often and in which circumstances, YouTube tends to make changes. It is worth to mention that YouTube recently changed rules for its monetization program as well.
What is this “reply Girls” controversy? What is the impact felt by the YouTube community and to the YouTube Platform itself? and what measures YouTube has taken to counter-attack? Let’s dig in ffurthermore to explore how all these happened and how it works now.
The "Reply Girls" controversy
Who is a “Reply girl”? According to Wikipedia, “A reply girl was a type of female YouTube user who uploaded video responses to popular YouTube videos, at a time when such responses were displayed prominently by the site”.
How YouTube managed "Related" and "Recommended" videos
Early 2012 YouTube gave significant weight to video responses when suggesting further viewing for any given video and ranking them at the top of the list. The “Reply Girls” tapped into this, “Opportunity” (we could say) and gained a significant audience within a very short period. They were clever enough to respond to top videos that were ranked on YouTube’s home page.
Both “Likes” and “Dislikes” were picked-up as legitimate user engagements by YouTube’s algorithm.
YouTube's old algorithm had a loophole
Further they went on using seducing thumbnails, often with push-up bras or low-cut tops encouraging viewers to click. Both “Likes” and “Dislikes” were picked-up as legitimate user engagements by the YouTube’s algorithm. This resulted in ranking these vidoes higher. Many “Reply Girls” managed to be listed on top and earned thousands of dollars without an effort.Cool! Not really.
YouTube suffered critical blows
The YouTube community felt the aftershocks. The video giant also felt the impact of not ranking the real videos to its viewers. Ads are the main revenue model for YouTube. Advertisers were hesitant to invest in Ads as they couldn’t trust YouTube will properly filter which creators were receiving ads on their videos. And creators couldn’t trust YouTube will fix monetization issues in a timely manner.
Ads are the main revenue model for YouTube.
A Game change, YouTube changes algorithm
YouTube took actions to protect both itself and the platform. YouTube decided to change the way it’s alogorithms work to cunterattack this isssue and secure it’s interests. YouTube announced that its algorithm will no longer recommend “borderline content” that could harm or seriously misguide viewers. They went on revamping its internal search rankings to reward not just the initial clicks but how long a video is watched. Seriuosly?
YouTube announced that its algorithm will no longer recommend “borderline content” that could harm or seriously misguide viewers.
YouTube's new rules for monetization
Previously YouTube had a different policy. The channels intended to monetize required to have 10,000-lifetime views. But not anymore. The YouTube set new threshhold for the Partner Program. These new rules affects the smaller creators the most. It says, in order for creators to be eligible for the Partner Program, and to be able to monetized through Google AdSense, they must have a total watch time of 4,000 hours and a minimum of 1,000 subscribers in the past 12 months. I repeat in the past 12 mnths.
Must have a total watch time of 4,000 hours and a minimum of 1,000 subscribers in the past 12 months.
The Backclash from smaller YouTubers
Although YouTube’s claims were justifiable, smaller YouTubers started to critisize their decision as they were the most affected. But the Video Giant bounced back saying that 99% of those who were affected by these new rules were making only $100 per annum during the last year.
Is YouTube a platform with bad Contents?
People tend to upload whatever contents they posses. YouTube ended up with harmful contents to the community resulting from events takes place everyday and, gone viral but has no value. It maybe triggred from terrorism acts, disturbing contetns targeted at children or race, commununal issues, violent contents or, unsuitable and failed prank videos and adult contents which filled up the platform.
YouTube needs to worry about its viewers
Billions of viewers spending billions of hours watching on daily basis. If YouTube doesn’t rank videos to suit it’s viewer’s interest, it’s a serious problem. YouTube has to defend itself, the platform and it’s viewers which are at the top of this ecosystem. Without viewers, there is no advertisers and, there will be no creators as well. Therefore, it is acceptable and also commendable that YouTube taking these things seriously.
It’s obvious that everything is evolving and nothing is made perfect in the first place. YouTube is no exception. It seems “Reply Girls” made it loud and clear.
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